Kentucky-Texas Postgame Quotes

Dec. 5, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q. Can you speak to Willie's play tonight, especially against a team that big?

John Calipari: Well, he was ridiculous today. Just so you know, at halftime he played so well, I called he and Marcus in, and I said, Marcus, you're his backup today. When he wants to come out you can come in. If he doesn't want to come out, you are not going to play a whole lot today. He's too good. And Willie said, hey, just be ready for me, but I'm going to try to go blow this out, and that's what he did. And I told my team, I'll do that with other guys, too. Somebody else is playing so well, Alex or Trey or Devin or Tyler or Andrew or Aaron, I mean, what happened today is our guards shot 4 for 27, and we won and got out-rebounded by 12 and won. What? How in the world did we -- but we were making threes, 1 out of 12. (Laughter).

What just happened?

Ricky B (Coach Barnes) was great after the game. He looked at me and said, that was a big boys' game, and it certainly was a big boys' game. They're good right now, but when they get that guard back that's out, they're legitimately -- we could be seeing them hopefully right down the last game, it's us and them. It could be that. I hope we're good enough to be that, but I see them being that kind of team.

Defensively both teams -- that was ridiculous. It's hard to get a pass -- just a rebound, and --

Q. Just to follow up on that, Ricky B said that this game was like an argument for a wider NBA lane to give everybody some room.

John Calipari: Oh, it was ridiculous. And then the bodies are so big. I mean, you had so many big people on the floor at one time. I mean, I looked at (Jonathan) Holmes before the game, because usually they'll say someone is 6'8", and then he comes in the game, how big is he? 6'6". He came out at the warm-ups, and I'm like, holy geez, he looks 6'10". So you've got him, you've got the other big, (Connor) Lammert, they're huge. And then they come off the bench with two big guys. They're big. And neither of our guards played as well as hopefully they'll play. My four guards did not. We did all right. Andrew showed the courage that I know he has, which is why I put him in at the end, and I told him, you're going to make the play, you're the veteran, make a play. He made that three in the corner that was huge that gave us some breathing room.

Q. You said yesterday the best thing that could happen to you guys is they come right out and punch you in the mouth --

John Calipari: Yeah, but what I wanted is we come out and play great defense and someone makes 10 straight shots and we're doing everything right, and we come down and we go 2 for 10 and we're getting great looks. And I want to see if you can continue to play, continue to have fun, continue to fight, and again, please don't think that I got away from platoons. I didn't. Just Willie played so well, we had some foul trouble, someone plays well you kind of slide them in on another platoon. I talked to Marcus Lee after. He said, Coach, I'm good, Willie was so good today, I accept it. I know how good he is.

Q. You may not take much out of it, but from a rankings standpoint you've beaten the two best teams in the Big 12 this year. Do you take anything out of that?

John Calipari: No. No, they're both really good teams. We've got one on a neutral site and one at home. We didn't have to play them on their court. But they're both good teams. We're a good team.

If we can figure out offensively what we had to do, and that's on me, that's not on these kids, we're still at about 50, 60 percent where we need to be offensively. So I've got to really do a better job of evaluating how we're playing, if it's the right way. I've got to look at the shots we had. When we missed these 12 threes, were they good threes that we just missed or were they bad shots? I don't know, I'll have to watch the tape.

But the greatest thing is it's December whatever it is, and we've got -- our team is not nearly what it can be. We're just not.

Q. You've had a team in the past statistically be the No. 1 defensive team in the country, another one that was ranked second statistically in the country. Is this one your best?

John Calipari: This is the longest team. What was my other one?

Q. '09 was ranked No. 1, defensive efficiency, '08 was No. 2 in the country in defensive efficiency.

John Calipari: What about 2012?

Q. Maybe top six, seven I remember.

John Calipari: Ooh. That team was really good. No, we're big, and we're long. I was happy Alex (Poythress) played well. We need Alex to really give us something, and I thought he did. I keep telling these guys, in these situations, if we're a world-class team, you have a ball. You love it. You're having fun with it. Even if you're not playing well or we're not playing well, you figure it out and you keep enjoying it. That's what I'm talking about to these guys.

Q. We've seen some games where Willie just struggled against teams like this, physical, teams like this. What's the difference now?

John Calipari: He's older, more mature. The biggest thing I'm working on him with our people, and Kenny (Payne) is, he's got to come to wide bases when he comes to a stop. When his feet are really close, he's just got no balance and he just flops around. When he comes to that wide base, he's seven-foot and he just jumps over the guy. He reaches up, literally he's shooting the ball and he's above the square (on the backboard) shooting down. The other thing is I like the fact that he made free throws today. I liked the fact that he's not afraid to shoot the ball in the middle. How about Dakari (Johnson) shooting that 15-footer? I want these guys to work on their games and then go do it in the game. We've got guys in the gym at night spending time, extra time, and again, one of the strengths of the team are our guards. Andrew and Aaron (Harrison), what they did last year, what they're doing now, and now Tyler (Ulis) and Devin (Booker), and they didn't make a shot today. 4 for 27. You think about that.

Q. I'm confused as to how you said you didn't abandon platoons. You subbed 2, 3, this guy, that guy, you played Willie 33 minutes, Marcus 4.

John Calipari: Well, what I'm doing is I'm coaching to win a game. We platoon, someone gets in foul trouble, I'm still platooning but there's a different guy in the platoon. I subbed even in the second half, I went and put Devin and Tyler and all those guys in, and I went back with the other guys, but only three of them went in because the other guys were in foul trouble. I don't know what you call that. Plateens? I don't know what you call it. (Laughter).

But I'm not abandoning -- what I'm doing is I'm making this about these guys. Now, the only guy that got left out was Marcus Lee. He got left out for a reason, which we talked about. And I told the other players, if you're watching a player that's splitting minutes with you and he's not bringing it, go sub him out. Tell him, I'm splitting minutes with you. You've got to respect that. You've got to come and play. It doesn't mean you have to be great. It doesn't mean you have to make shots. It means you're going to bring energy. Someone inside there grabbed me and said the energy that your team plays with for 40, and it's not that we're pressing.

And this guy, Rick is a terrific coach. Do you know what he did at the end of the first half? All you Basketball Bennies that were watching the game? He spread the court and did what? Just tried to beat us on the dribble. That's all he did. He said, just drive them, because we spread out too much, and that's why in the second half we backed up a little bit, so we weren't spread, going nuts 35 feet out.

But it's something that we've got to work on and think about what we're doing, but I loved our post defense. I loved that we were switching different things, that we were playing guys, driving, rotating, cracking back. We did a lot of good things. Defensively we're at about 70 percent. Offensively we're at about 50 percent, which is a good thing because I want this team to get better.

Q. When the lead was down to five and you called time within 1:37 to go and you went to Willie, I don't know if that was intentional, but what should we draw from seeking a clutch guy in a clutch situation?

John Calipari: You know, what we were doing is we were running an offense that it didn't matter who's making the play. What I like is Willie wanted to make the play. See, guys that make those clutch or game winners are not afraid to miss the game winner. Now, if I see a guy in that situation have a play that he can make and he won't make the play because he just -- well, you're out. You can't be afraid to make the play. Well, I haven't made a shot all game. Well, then you shouldn't be in that if that's how you're thinking. So you haven't made a shot all day. Just make that one to win the game, and then you walk off and they say, boy, he played great. What are you talking about? That's the only shot he made. But that's the mentality we've got to be in. Everybody is going to come after us. It's everybody's Super Bowl. The beginning of that game was vicious. Arms flying, bodies flying, hips flying, dudes driving right at people, and us too. We were all doing the same thing.

It was a dogfight, and their dogs were bigger in the first half. Let me just put it that way.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on Eastern (Kentucky), Cal?

John Calipari: I haven't watched any tape on Eastern, but I'm going to tonight or tomorrow, probably tomorrow, and I know they shoot 30 threes a game. I know they have five guys that they play Princeton, and their 5 man is like a 3. They shoot 30 three-point shots a game. They've beaten some good people. They've lost to BYU and somebody else. They're on the radar, but I have not watched any tape.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On how high he jumped to catch the alley-oop …
“I’ve heard that people are telling me that it was really high. I will have to watch it because I heard that it was really, really high.”

On if a night like tonight validates coming back for another year …
“For sure. You know, that is one of the biggest reasons that I came back is to just develop myself more as a basketball player. I feel like I am just starting to do that. It’s only December. I still have three months left.”

On playing in the paint against a physical team like Texas …
“It just goes back to just working on it. Keep on working on it and keep on working on it. I think I just accepted that it is my job to do that for the team.”

#22, Alex Poythress, F

On if this is the best he’s seen Willie Cauley-Stein play since the two have been at Kentucky …
“Yeah. He was everywhere blocking shots, rebounding, getting steals, getting in the passing lanes and playing good defense. Offensively he was catching the lobs.”

On physicality of Texas …
“It felt like practice with always banging. We went against someone our own size and it was a battle. It was a war out there. If you’re soft, then you can’t play this game. You just have to battle out there.”

On Texas being the early test on the schedule …
“It’s great. We showed great poise out there and down the stretch. We’re going to need that when it’s tournament time. Every game is going to be close in the tournament. There’s not going to be any blowouts. We need to show that we can win a close game.”

On the 18-2 run coming out in the second half …
“We just wanted to bring energy. It all starts with defense. We just tried to guard them the best that we could by making shots hard and switching out on people. We just tried to do everything defensively.”

On both coaches saying this was a big boys’ game …
“It was a man’s game out there. You just have to go in there and fight and battle and do whatever you can to help your team win.”

On being outrebounded, making only one 3-pointer and still winning the game …
“We let them get about 10 offensive rebound in the first 10 minutes. We weren’t really shooting well, but at the end of the day we showed that when we’re not on our ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ or ‘D’ game that we can get the little things that we need to win. Just coming up with a stop on defense and just keep on playing out there.”

#44, Dakari Johnson, C

On how loud it was out there on the court when he hit the 10-0 run in the first half …
“It was really loud and really fun. That’s what Coach Cal said: You’re in a dogfight, and if you can’t have fun with it whether you’re losing or winning you can’t be out on the floor. We just really had fun as a team.”

On if this was one of the more physical games he’s played here …
“Yeah, if not the most physical game I have ever played here. It was good going up against someone our own size.”

On what game like this this early in the season does for these guys later down the road …
“Big time. It was a close game. Everyone just fought. That was the big thing, to see if we would fight back in the second half, and we did.”

Texas Coach Rick Barnes

Opening statement …
“I don’t know if I have ever coached a game where the size and the strength – physicality was what it was. I’m sure if you ask the referees too, I don’t think they have ever officiated a game like that. That was a big boy game. I thought both teams really competed and baskets were really hard to come by. They made that 18-2 run. Our guys knew we were going to play and fight back in it. And we didn’t come out with a run to really start the second half, and that was really the difference. Defensively, again, I thought both teams really competed. And Willie Cauley-Stein was terrific. I mean, he was really the difference in the game. ”

On Texas cutting it to a two possession game with a minute left in the game …
“We’re good. I have told you all we are a good basketball team. And we are out of rhythm. I mean, I am not going to deny that. You guys have seen us. I mean, missing Isaiah made us a whole different team that is neither here nor there. We came in here with the attitude that we knew we could play and win. The guys are disappointed, and they should be because offensively we are better than what we played, but they had a lot to do with it. They did. There were some great things about our team. I thought Prince Ibeh was terrific. He went in battled and put fouls on them. Demarcus Holland had to do whatever was needed at the guards, posts positions. He’s done that. That was a hard-fought basketball game. It was physical, and when you look at it, both teams I mean they ended up shooting 37 percent but rebounding wise we did a great job on the boards. We knew they would come out in the second half and get after that. And that hurt us too in the second half, but we really did a great job on the boards. That 10-0 run was the difference in the game, and that’s when we need Javan (Felix) on the floor and he picked up that early foul. He picked up two fouls, and he can’t, being a senior, he can’t do, but he’ll learn from that.”

On what got them back into the game after UK’s 10-0 run …
“We fought and defensively the zone was good. We probably played a little more zone than we wanted but we were in some serious foul trouble. I mean, we were serious foul trouble, and you look at it, I mean, Demarcus Holland out there. I thought our pressure in the backcourt – I did really think that would be a facto. We would attack it. We knew shots would be tough in there. We didn’t get the ball movement that we wanted, but again, they had a lot to do with that. Bad decisions, bad 3s. We just started getting 3 happy. Myles (Turner) took one and Kendal (Yancy) took one and turned it over. We actually did that coming out of an out-of-bounds play where we didn’t screen him and roll with the switch. Those areas right there, again, offensive rebounds a couple times even when they were getting that run going, we gave up some rebounds that we didn’t give up in the first half.”

On Willie Cauley-Stein’s play…
“What I think about him is, I wish he was on my team, that’s what I think about him. He really is terrific and in the zone he did some things in there. I mean, we know he’s a terrific player. I thought his composure, I mean, that was a really hard physical game. … But Willie Cauley-Stein, I mean, even in the zone he was terrific. He affected the game in every way he could affect it. I mean, his steals I thought getting around him, most guys like that don’t even try to get around. They are just sit back there and let you get it, try to guard you. But he does his work early and he was very impressive.”

Texas Student-Athletes

#10, Jonathan Holmes, F

On matching UK’s size …
“We competed. We knew that people were making a big deal about their size but we knew coming into this game that we go up against that type of size in practice so it wasn’t going to be as different for us than it would for another team. I feel like our size and their size kind of equaled each other out.”

On having to fight their way back into the game …
“We knew coming into the game, especially being on the road. I mean, they’re the No. 1 team for a reason. They’re not gonna stay down after the first blow. We were expecting them to make a run. We knew coming into the game that we’d have to bounce back, and we have some mature guys, older guys that have been in games like this and we tried to come back and they did a good job not letting us.”

On why they dominated the boards …
“It’s something we emphasize in practice every day. It’s just something that’s part of our culture: crashing the boards and trying to outrebound every team we play.”

#2, Demarcus Holland, G

On what Texas proved in this game …
“We just proved that we’ll come out and compete against anybody and we’ll be a tough team. We’re never gonna give up. We proved that we’ll continue to grow and compete until the buzzer sounds.”

On fouls effecting offensive rhythm …
“You kind of gotta adjust. They were calling fouls on both ends, so we started trying to pound it inside like they were. So there’s no blame on the refs for the way the game was called. We just gotta adjust.”

On how Texas feels coming out of this game … 
“We feel like it was good for us and we have to grow and come out stronger in the second half at others people’s home court. We proved that we’re tough. Now we just have to prove that we’re smart and take care of the ball more and we’ll grow from here. I mean, it’s a long season so we know it’s not over. We have a long way to go.”